Transformation, big tweaks or steady does it?

Here’s Labour’s tax slogan: “Let’s do this but not yet and maybe not at all.”

Last week Labour pushed the panic button — a week after Steven Joyce’s backfired panicky attempt to dig a big hole in Grant Robertson’s fiscal numbers.

Helped from the sidelines by Winston Peters demanding Labour come clean, Joyce’s “show us the numbers” tax assault forced a Labour retreat to safe ground. National might want Joyce as campaign chair next time after all.

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A younger Parliament points towards change

There is one certainty in this election of upsets, diversions and sudden career endings: Parliament will be younger. The under-40s will swell in number. So will the lower-40s.

Already there are 11 under-40 MPs: four in Labour, including its leader, four in National, two Greens and one in ACT.

On parties’ recent polling averages up to late August that would double to at least 21 — more than one-sixth of Parliament.

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A hard place, a rock and opportunity

A question hung over Bill English on stage on Sunday at his campaign launch: will he be in Parliament three years from now? He has been there 27years already.

If Jacinda Ardern is Prime Minister, he will surely not want to stew in opposition. Note in that light a TV1 poll published Sunday showing a massive party vote swing in Whangarei from 50%-18% National-Labour in 2014 to just 41%-37%.

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Soaring Ardern, sorry Greens, straight-line National

The good news for Labour at its campaign launch on Sunday was Jacinda Ardern: sure-footed, traditional-and-modern and an overflow crowd ranging from fired-up to goggle-eyed.

For that crowd Ardern personified the change they want and sense but thought till three weeks ago was beyond the horizon.

She asserted Labour tradition, invoking Michael Joseph Savage, Peter Fraser, Norman Kirk, David Lange and Helen Clark (in the audience supporting her former staffer).

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Democracy heading for a change of climate?

This is “democracy week”, Victoria University has declared. So how are we doing?

According to young people, not well in parliamentary politics, so it seems. At June 30 only 64% of estimated eligible 18-24-year-olds had bothered to enrol to vote, the Electoral Commission says.

For 25-29-year-olds the figure was 73%. Even for 30-34-year-olds it was 83%.

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A liberty lesson for a nation in a bubble

The chief guardian of freedom in the “land of the free” will give a speech tomorrow evening. But it will not be free. Welcome to today’s wobbly “western” world.

Decent, upstanding, even erudite and pillar-of-society non-terrorists will be subjected to the indignity of a security bag check and X-ray on their way in to an address by the august John Roberts, Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court.

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